What do you get when you bring 6 fabulous people* together whose collective diversity is so wide? You get much deliciousness, that's what!
The third session that we host with our groups is often about Holding Space, and in this session we ventured into our Curated Questions to explore this subject. The session was a complete delight, the women of our group have such wonderful stories of their own personal experiences and of their view of the world from their varied and multicultural lenses. The recipes that came together in this sessions are a glimpse into these experiences.
Rice Mixed with Tuna
Born in Ecuador, South America lived in France, Chile and Palestine, currently living in Istanbul with her Turkish husband.
She loves recreating Latin American gastronomy with Turkish local ingredients, and discover old ways of cooking.
She says this "Ecuadorians love rice! Everyday the main course is accompanied by a portion of white rice perfumed with garlic. But some days the rice instead of being a simple garniture, becomes the main dish itself. We used to serve rice mixed with shrimps, rice mixed with meat, chicken and sausages, or like the recipe below rice mixed with tuna.
Economic, delicious and easy to prepare!"
2 small cans of tuna or 1 medium size (keep the oil of 1 can)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 cups cooked rice
1 red onion diced
1 bell pepper diced
1 tomatoes peeled and seeded, diced
1 tbs parsley or coriander finely chopped, plus more to garnish
1 tsp ground achiote or annatto (optional)
1 tsp of dry raisins
½ cup of sweet corn (optional)
Salt and pepper
1. Heat the oil of the tuna in a large saucepan or pot, add the minced garlic, and the red onion cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
2. Add the peppers and tomatoes to the garlic and achiote, mix well until the onion is coated with oil.
3. Then add the corn, tuna and raisins, salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp of cumin. Mix and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the cooked rice to the sautéed vegetables, mix well and cook on low until the onions and peppers are tender and the flavors got concentrated.
5. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
6. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Chris is a white South African living off grid together with their partner. Chris identifies as being trans, non-binary gender and is autistic.
South African people love a BBQ and alongside come their salads. Chris makes this recipe egg free as they can't eat eggs, however eggs are added for their partner who can. Often home cooks juggle the dietary needs and preferences of their family while preparing meals.
Ingredients and Instructions
*6-8 medium potatoes, boiled till soft but firm with skin on, diced to preferred size
*freshly harvested garden herbs to taste
*egg free mayonnaise, 200 -300 ml
*600g fried mushrooms (1-2 punnets)
*salt to taste
*Optional: hard boiled eggs, spring onion, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds to garnish.
Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl and decorate with garnish seeds, eggs, onions and herbs. Add some lemon or pepper if you want more tang or bite :)
Daisy-Mae Bluebell Bray
Daisy-Mae has travelled the world working on eco restoration, rewilding and permaculture projects, she is a native of Yorkshire England and is now based in Scotland.
Salad for Moon Cycle Comfort and Nutrition
Many women plan to eat according to the menstrual cycle to help balance their bodies nutritional needs. In this session Daisy shared how when she needs the extra iron and vitamins but lacks the energy or time to prepare everything from scratch, then she opens and heats up a tin of organic soup (it was lentil) and prepares this delicious salsa which has a mixture of nuts, seeds, avocado, tomatoes, salad greens and boiled egg.
She finds it comforting and replenishing to be treating her body well.
Everyone in the group rsonated with the need to listen to our body needs especially in relation to our cycle which is too often still a taboo subject.
Note: Many women of different cultures might be too shy to discuss things relating to their cycles, even among other women, so I am very glad that this subject came up and I would love to see more recipes that are in alignment with our hormonal and cyclic needs.
Starfire was born in Lebanon, lived in Sudan, The US and Turkey and now lives in Cairo. She experienced the Way of the Circle through Native American people while in Santa Barbara.
Steamed vegetable & Fruit Salad
Where Starfire lives presently in Cairo, street traders pass by with sweet potatoes, these combined in this way create what she calls a "feast for the eyes".
Where ever she is in the world she does her best to find great quality first press olive oil which reminds her of the huge glass containers that they would have from the local produce of her childhood homes in the Lebanon and Sudan.
Ingredients and Instructions
Steamed sweet potatoes, green beans and beets.
Peeled red and green apples and red grapes.
Served and layered beautifully with lettuce at the bottom, fresh parsley, cilantro (coriander), dill, green onions and slices of fresh ginger.
Dressing: first press olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Melissa is from Madagascar, which many people are unaware is part of the African continent. She has lived in Indonesia, France and Switzerland. She is now living in Istanbul.
Emergency Comfort Food
In previous sessions Melissa has shared the most amazing and delicious recipes from her home country of Madagascar. She is a perfectionist when it comes to presentation and also very keen to eat well, so I am especially glad to be sharing this honest view into how she fed herself one evening in the week of this session.
I'm glad not because it is great food and certainly not because I like brand placement here on our blog, but because every one of us probably has days when we just need to eat, we have no time or energy and we need a moral boost. The brands here provide Melissa with a sense of luxury (since they weren't available to her in her childhood and they also give her a sense of treating herself since they are still quite expensive by comparison to all the other possible ingredients available here in Istanbul). The immediacy means she nourished herself for a quick meal with something sweet during what was a stressful week for her.
Author note: I avoid imported foods, tetrapak cartons and am keen to find chocolate that comes form ethical and sustainable sources, but I love this sharing for Melissa because it is the reality that all of us face some days! I love the honesty here and the fact that Melissa felt that she could share this meal with us in complete contrast to her other dishes. (See upcoming blog posts!)
Stephanie Veronica Turemiş
Steph lives in London with her 3 children. She is of Jamaican immigrant descent and has always been a minority as a black woman in her neighbourhood in London, but was even more so during her years in the south coast of Turkey.
Steph lived for years in Turkey and still identifies very strongly with the food, her three children are half Turkish and this is one of their family favourites! It is also very healthy and easy to make once you know how. She first saw her mother in law making it and learnt this recipe from her.
Ingredients and instructions
Wash a glass/cup full of red lentils then boil in a saucepan (water should just cover lentils by a few cm).
When lentils are all cooked add small glass of fine bulgur wheat and cover pot. Leave for 5-10 mins.
Fry 2 medium onions in olive oil until they are pinkish.
Add 2-3tbsps of tomato paste and cook for 1min. Take off the heat.
Add 2 teaspoons of cumin and add all to lentil mixture.
Finely chop 3/4 stems of fresh (spring) onion and a large bunch of parsley.
Add to mixture salt, red chilli pepper and juice of 1-2 lemons. Mix all together well. Take small amount in hand and shape.
These are the recipes from session 3 of our eclectic mix or wonderful world women.
We hope you feel inspired to cook and eat well, to nourish yourselves and that we have inspired curiosity about other people, other places and other traditions.
*We at Cooking Up Dialogue are keen to ensure that we create an inclusive space and that means using inclusive language. Our project is specifically designed for the participation of women and female identifying people, but also for non binary and fluid gender people.
We made this choice because we believe that we must amplify the voice of women and the minorities to be able to witness an emergence of true equality in our communities.
In this group one member identifies as non binary therefore I changed the word 'women' for the more inclusive 'people'. During our dialogue Chris shared really interesting insights about this which provide opportunity to learn for all of us.... coming up in a new blog post soon!